$4,000 fine for feeding monkeys

Elena Chong, Straits Times 24 Jan 08;

A MAN has been fined $4,000 for feeding monkeys in a nature reserve, the steepest fine ever handed out for the offence.

Panneerselvam Arunasalam, a cook, admitted on Tuesday that he had fed the animals bread in the Central Catchment Nature Reserve on Aug 5 last year.

A park ranger spotted the 46-year-old doling out food in the Mandai sanctuary, which is near Old Upper Thomson Road. The area is ringed with signs warning people against giving the animals food.

Pressing for a stiff sentence on Tuesday, National Parks Board prosecutor M. Maniam told the court that feeding monkeys endangers both the animals and humans.

'It alters the monkeys' natural behaviour adversely, as it makes them reliant on humans for food instead of foraging for food on their own in the forest,' he said.

These monkeys tend to behave more aggressively towards humans, especially children, he added.

It also leads to an increase in the monkey population and brings the animals closer to roads in search of food.

Although park officials and the media have highlighted the the dangers of feeding monkeys, many people seem undeterred.

The feeding of monkeys is becoming more prevalent, Mr Maniam said. There were 157 cases last year, compared to 142 the year before.

Eighteen people were convicted over the two-year period. The rest paid $250 fines.

Panneerselvam could have been fined up to $50,000 and jailed for up to six months.

LINKS

More about the impact of feeding monkeys on the wildsingapore website.

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